Two of Twelve Twenty Twenty Chapters

img_1653What a fancy way to say February 2020, right?

January seemed like it was five months long, yet all of a sudden, it’s a memory.

Looking back to the first chapter of 2020, I am most proud of continuous progress towards my Jersey Shore Magazine Spring 2020 issue deadlines. I’m writing four articles and editing four guides as assigned by my publisher. It’s been a slow go at times due to circumstances beyond my control, but I’m hoping to complete my magazine assignments in a few days.

January brought with it a lot of fun times and laughter with my brother’s birthday celebration and a day to the aquarium, a Seinfeld trivia brunch with friends, lunch with one of my favorite students ever, and a belated holiday luncheon with family.

I penned over 10,000 words for my next novel, words that did not exist at the beginning of the month. I write every weekday morning between 6:00 and 6:45 AM and for at least 30 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays, and while it’s a very rough draft of a story I’ve had in my heart for a long time, it’s awesome to watch the story begin to take shape. At this rate, I hope to finish the first draft by June than heavily revise and edit over the summer while also working on researching and writing another book, this one a non-fiction volume about the history of surfing in New Jersey.

Unfortunately, January also ushered in a string of rejections for my novel which I’ve been querying to agents and publishers. I know it’s hard to break into publishing and that my novel is merely one of a thousand other works agents and publishers have to wade through, but I honestly believed in my heart someone on the other side would have bitten by now. Instead, my queries are either unanswered or I receive a “Thanks but it’s not for me” response, which comes with the territory but is disappointing nonetheless. After an extremely frustrating chain of events a few days ago, I received three of those punch-to-the-gut emails within two hours of each other.

That hit me hard.

The doubters who inhabit my mind have returned from vacation and are now chattering up a storm. I’m trying my best to ignore them, but it’s been a rough few days and keeping them at bay has been difficult. Hopefully,  their voices will soon become bored with insulting me and find something else to do.

As the second chapter of 2020 unfolds, I am looking forward to new beginnings with the start of the second semester and two new groups of students, the celebration of a dear friend’s birthday, and the arrival of my 49th year circling the sun on February 12. Plus, it’s a leap year, and this chapter includes February 29! I’m already thinking of how I can commemorate leap-day by doing something truly extraordinary.

My February goals are to research/write every day in order to make progress on my next novel and my book about surfing, walk for 30 minutes at least three times a week (wish it could be every day but health limitations dictate otherwise), take part in Deepak Chopra’s 21-Day Meditation Experience which begins on February 3, and to leave my nails alone.

My chosen quote to guide me through February is from Kobe Bryant: “We all have self-doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate to it. You embrace it.”

Brain-doubters, you make me human, but beware. I see you. I embrace you. But I will no longer give in to you.

Join me in living each moment to its fullest and to being the best we can be to each other this February, for Ram Dass was right when he said, “We are all just walking each other home.”

cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,


“Two of Twelve Twenty Twenty Chapters” was posted on on February 2, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

Thank you, Kobe.


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